GMC revived the Envoy name for 2002 on a brand-new midsize model related to the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. For 2008, all trim levels of the five-seat Envoy have standard side curtain airbags and XM Satellite Radio. Competitors include the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Pathfinder.
All models come standard with an electronic stability system. A 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder engine is standard on all but the Denali models, which have a 5.3-liter V-8 that features Displacement on Demand technology to improve fuel economy.
For 2008, two-wheel-drive Envoy Denalis get 20-inch polished-aluminum wheels. The upscale Denali editions also feature honeycomb grilles and an integrated air dam to channel air to the engine. Interior appointments include Nuance leather seats with French seam stitching, and the front seats are heated.
A shield-shaped grille helps give the four-door Envoy a distinct identity. Standard aluminum wheels measure 17 inches in diameter, and a rear load-leveling suspension is available. The Envoy rides on a 113-inch wheelbase, measures 191.6 inches long overall and stands 71.9 inches tall.
The Envoy contains reclining front bucket seats and a split, folding rear seat. Bose audio, a navigation system, a DVD-based entertainment system and power-adjustable pedals are optional.
Under the Hood
The Envoy's 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder makes 285 horsepower. Envoy Denalis feature a 300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8. All models use a four-speed automatic transmission. Envoys have either rear-wheel drive or Autotrac four-wheel drive, which incorporates a two-speed transfer case.
All-disc antilock brakes, electronic stability control and side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system are standard.
GMC's Envoy rivals the Ford Explorer in passing power, ride comfort and handling prowess. While tromping on the gas to pass, the inline-six exudes confidence. Not only is engine sound barely noticeable, but road noise is also virtually absent.
The regular-suspension Envoy rides similar to a car on smooth surfaces. The ride softens, but not dramatically, with the available load-leveling suspension. Handling is on the slow side, but the SUV has a satisfying steering feel.